Ground level vs raised coop


10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
Morganton, NC
I am working on a design for our coop that my husband and I are going to build this fall in preparation for some spring chicks. I was wondering what people's opinions on a few things were. First, do you prefer a coop that is built on the ground, or one that is raised up with space underneath, and why? I am leaning toward the raised one so that I can have the floor under the roost be made of wire so the poop can fall under the coop and I can shovel it out from there. Is this a reasonable plan or is there an important detail I am missing? Second, is it ok for the chickens to walk on the mesh wire in the coop, will that make it too cold for them in a NC winter (should be pretty mild with lows rarely below 25 F)? Thanks!
First, let me say that having a wire mesh area under the roost, with easy cleanout for droppings, really does not have much of anything to do with whether you build the coop raised vs on the ground. It is about equally easy to do either way.

I would not have a wire mesh bottom under the roost at those temperatures (remembering that cold air often comes along with *wind*). So even if you built it that way, you should probably ought to close it off, one way or anohter, for a few months per year ANYhow.

As far as raised vs on the ground:

Is this meant to be a reach-in or a walk-in coop? Reach-in coops are usually best built raised a couple feet up, partly to save your back a lot of strain and partly because that'll provide a nice covered area 'downstairs' as a more-sheltered part of the run. (Don't put the popdoor in the floor, tho, make a normal door in the *side* of the coop for the chickens to go out)

Walk-in coops, it depends on the size of the coop and your climate and your soil type and so forth.

Hope that helps at least define the issues involved somewhat, good luck, have fun,

A lot depends on your coop design. People raise a small, reach in-coop off the ground so they can reach into it more easily. It also discourages mice from taking up residence under the floor. If it's attached to the run, the chickens will hang out under the coop when it rains.

I have friends who are adamant that wire floors are NOT appropriate for full size chickens. The birds are too heavy to comfortably walk on the wire. Plus the poop will foul the wire and you'll have to clean the space below and the wire. I'd recommend droppings boards if you want an easy way to clean out droppings.
Personally I like an above ground coop for ease of egg picking and cleaning. It also provides additional room for the chickens to run underneath it.

I live in North Carolina too and this past winter it got down to 11 degrees twice. I live in the Piedmont area. Since I didn't add any kind of light or heat source to the coop, I'm glad the floor and walls were solid.
I think it's a matter of space with most ppl. If your limited on space it's nice for the chicks to have the extra room to streach out. I agree that i wouldn't want my chicks walking on wire. I also agree that it doesn't make much diff. on cleaning up the poo. I have mine on the ground and use deep liter. It only has to be turned every week or so add a handfull of bedding. About every 2 or 3 mts. i shovel it out to the compost pile and start over. Hope this helps a little.
BTW Welcome to BYC
I would not recommend a raised plan with wire floor. First of all, the wire is not comfortable for the birds. Also, having a raised wire floor is not a good idea for cold tempatures. Lastly, it creates too much work cleaning under the coop. My suggestion, built it on the ground and use the deep litter method. It will be warmer and more comfortable for the chickens, and with the deep litter method you will only have to replace the shaving a few times a year. Who wants to spend a lot of time cleaning up chicken sh*t? I have an 8x8 chicken house that sits directly on the ground. I add new shavings a few times a year and clean the whole thing out once a year. It works like a charm.
I am building a raised coop. I chose raised for two reason...1. I am 6 feet tall and want to bend over as little as possible when cleaning it. 2. It rains here, ALOT! So with the raised coop the gang will have a dry area to hang out. It is 5x7 with 4 foot walls. It has two main "windows" that I open to get inside for cleaning. I will be using vinyl on the floor and will be able to stand at the doors, which are about waist high, and reach every corner of the coop with a rake or shovel. I am also planning on doing the deep liter method, it seems to be the method of choice on BYC.
Good luck on your decision.
Wire for flooring: A few questions: What is your climate like? If you'll have cold winter, you'll want wood shaving or some other type of material on the floor for insulation. Will this be a walk-in coop and be able to support humans? I also heard that wire floors are not good for the chickens. As far as cleaning, it might take me 10 minutes to shovel out the flooring and replace the chips.

Coop Space: We left space between the coop bottom and the ground for 3 reasons. The first one was for the vermin that we would attract. Leaving a space left the area inhospitable for them. The second reason was for air circulation, helps in keeping the floor dry. The third was just to keep the coop from touching the ground (lessons the chances of wood rot).
Thanks for all of the words of wisdom. I am nixing the wire floor idea, but I do think I will continue with the raised option. Thanks again, lots of great advice and ideas!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom